The National League has announced that the upcoming Notts County vs Chesterfield fixture will be moved at only 10 days notice, following a request by BT Sport to broadcast the game.
While the fixture was scheduled to take place on Saturday 1st February at 3pm, BT Sport’s intervention has moved kick-off to 5.20pm.
BT Sport have a poor record with notice of fixture changes and it is feared that more games will be moved at short notice later in the season.
Last February fans of half-a-dozen top flight clubs were left frustrated by the broadcaster’s scheduling decisions.
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust refused to help the broadcaster’s Champions League coverage, citing BT Sport’s unwillingness to discuss its impact on Premier League and FA Cup schedules.
The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) has spoken to the National League and fans who have purchased tickets and can no longer make the rearranged kick-off should contact their club for a refund.
However, there is still the possibility that supporters could lose out on already purchased advance rail tickets, or even miss the match altogether due to personal circumstances.
Any supporters who have travel costs that cannot be refunded should contact the FSA as these matters can be raised with BT Sport and the National League.
Andy Walsh, head of national game and community ownership at the FSA, said that the broadcaster needed to listen to supporters’ concerns and consider the impact of their decisions upon fans.
“Fans understand that the broadcast of matches can cause fixtures to move,” Andy said. “Fans accept that clubs in the National League benefit from the exposure brought by BT’s broadcast of games.
“What fans find hard to understand is if other broadcasters can give adequate notice is it really that hard for BT Sport to do the same?
“The benefit of TV exposure will soon be lost if fans stop going to games because of the disruption that fixture changes make.”